A master of accountancy in taxation has a thorough grasp of mathematics, following established rules and laws, working in group settings, balancing short-term and long-term budgets, and detailing financial transactions. Tax accounting is a complex process that involves summarizing and reporting financial transactions that take place in business entities and households. A master’s degree program in this subject covers a number of important tax accounting topics, such as intermediate/advanced accounting, tax preparation, business taxes, household taxes, research in taxation, auditing, statistics, and more. Because tax accounting involves a lot of work with numbers, analysis, and bookkeeping, students who pursue this degree should be skilled in higher-level math, personal organization, and intrinsic analysis.
Why a Master’s Degree?
The most efficient path to becoming a tax accountant begins with completing a bachelor’s degree in tax accounting. Finding a job in tax accounting without at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or tax accounting is rare. Obtaining both an undergraduate degree and master’s degree is dependable for finding a job, especially for those students who desire to advance to higher-level positions in their careers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of tax accounting jobs in the United States require at least a four-year degree, and some even require a master’s degree. What’s more, all accounting certification exams require students to have at least 150 credits and relevant work experience before testing.
Getting Into a Master’s Degree Program
To be admitted into the master’s degree program of their choice, students need to satisfy a set of basic requirements which show that they are able to complete the kind of coursework required of graduate degree programs. Such requirements include:
- Bachelor’s degree in tax accounting, accounting, or related subject.
- Relevant work experience.
- Desired GMAT or GRE scores.
- Desired undergraduate GPA.
Inside a Tax Accounting Master’s Degree Program
Completing the typical tax accounting master’s degree plan takes at least two years. During their course studies, students first take a handful of core classes pertaining to accounting at large, followed by classes that delve into specific topics in tax accounting. Such courses discuss in-depth tax planning, taxation of businesses, taxation of individuals and households, cutting-edge research and communication in taxation accounting, business ethics, law and legal reasoning, tax-exempt entities, and numerous other topics. While completing their master’s degree, students are encouraged to accept part-time jobs, internships, and research opportunities in tax accounting in order to gain a more well-rounded educational experience.
Some students are better suited for online master’s degree programs in tax accounting. The online option allows students to earn their degree remotely, allowing for greater flexibility in balancing school with their personal lives. Some students find that they may complete an online master’s degree in tax accounting at an accelerated pace. However, the coursework is no different or less strenuous than that found in brick-and-mortar schools. Courses are usually self-paced and materials are delivered electronically in the form of online slideshows, pre-recorded video lectures, PDF documents, and audio lectures on iTunes-U. For those who aren’t sure if an online tax accounting master’s degree is right for them, there is also the option to obtain an online master’s in accounting, which is a more generalized accounting degree.
What’s Next for Tax Accounting Master’s Degree Holders?
Students have several options upon graduating from their master’s degree program in tax accounting. Though they could work any number of accounting-specific jobs, most graduates end up becoming tax accountants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), tax accountants can expect to earn a salary of about around $70,130. The BLS also reports that employment for tax accountants and auditors is expected to grow by 16% from 2010 to 2020. Since the Certified Public Account (CPA) exam requires students to have at least 150 college credit hours before testing for certification, many students choose to take their certification exams after completing their master’s degrees.
For those who want to teach at a college or university, the next step is to study for a Ph.D. in accounting. The requirements for acceptance into a Ph.D. program are more demanding than that of a master’s degree. In a doctoral degree program, students will be expected to complete an independent dissertation, work as a teacher’s assistant, and dive into a handful of accounting research projects. Finishing a Ph.D. in accounting can take anywhere between three to ten years, depending on the pace in which a student chooses to complete their work.